That title is not to downplay the roles of current Steelers number 29 Shamarko Thomas or even classic wearers of that number like Barry Foster. Chidi was the insane special teams playmaker who made that number stand out, and I really just wanted to somehow combine his name with Marc-Andre Fleury's.
I caught this via my friend Sean at Puck Daddy…MAF's 2014 Stadium Series helmet was released and MY GOD IT'S STEELERS-INSPIRED, PITTSBURGHSPLOSION GSHIGSHDG!!!! MAF couldn't have played this better. Well, adding Pirates hints on his pads or something would take this into the stratosphere of awesome stuff, but this Saturday's Stadium Series is a hockey game in a Chicago football stadium so he HAD to show love to the Steelers. And as Sean pointed out, MAF is no stranger to said Steelers love:
The mask was designed by Griff Airbrush and RULES! I apologize for my rambling and frequent ALL-CAPS'ING but these are the rare moments when cross-sport support is done perfectly.
Leahy correctly pointed out the nightmare bottom lips along the "football chinstrap" area of the mask, and though I hadn't seen that until Sean's note of it, it's now a prime focal point. But my favorite aspect in the singular Penguins logo on the right side of the classic Gold stripe down the center. The Steelers are unique in that they are the only team in professional sports to have a logo on only one side of their helmets, a carryover from less-successful franchise days. The team tried the new Steelmark logo on only one side because they weren't sure how it would look or be accepted, only for the team to have its most fruitful season in their history. So it stayed as such.
Couple that with Fleury, the goalie taken first overall to help the team out of the less-successful post-Jagr, pre-Crosby era.
So good on Fleury for his longtime support of the Steelers culminating in his amazing Stadium Series mask. Now all the team has to do is ditch the Vegas Gold for the Lemieux-Cup-era Black and Gold and MAF can use this helmet nonstop. And then maybe the sect of fans still not on board with MAF from his recent playoff setbacks will find something to latch onto.